Atlanta United defender Luis Abram #4 kicks the ball during the second half of the match against Philadelphia Union at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Sunday July 2, 2023. (Photo by Jay Bendlin/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United defeated Philadelphia Union 2-0 Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 43,527 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta netted a goal in each half in a decisive, clean-sheet victory as Thiago Almada scored his eighth goal of the season while Brooks Lennon notched his second goal of the year. Today’s win was the club’s fifth shutout of the season.

Atlanta United jumped out to an early lead through a brilliant strike from distance by Almada in the seventh minute. The sequence began with Almada playing a long ball behind Philadelphia’s defense and Giorgos Giakoumakis nearly getting on the end of it. Referee Ted Unkel initially pointed to the spot for a penalty, but after going to video review, the foul on Giakoumakis was determined to have occurred just outside of the box. Almada took the ensuing free kick and his initial attempt struck the wall and bounced back to him. The Argentine then drilled a one-time shot that soared into the right side of the goal, leaving goalkeeper Joe Bendik flat-footed for his eighth goal of the season.

I think when you lose 4-0 on the road, you aren’t happy, so it was a massive result for us against a very, very good Philadelphia [Union] team at home in front of our home fans, and we put a great performance together.”

Brooks Lennon on today’s match

Miguel Berry replaced Giakoumakis and almost found the back of the net in the 41st minute. Young starlet Machop Chol delivered a cross from the right flank to Almada at the top of the box, but his heavy touch bounced to Berry who had his attempt on goal saved.

Philadelphia pushed for an equalizer and was able to generate more shots in the second half, but it never produced a shot on goal. Atlanta was steady in defense and eventually added to its lead in the 79th minute.

Almada drove the ball forward down the left side and played Caleb Wiley into the box toward the end line. The Homegrown back-heeled it to Berry, who quickly recycled it to Almada at the top of the box. Almada took one touch before finding Lennon unmarked on the right side of the box where he settled the ball and blasted a low shot toward the near post, bouncing off Bendik on its way into goal.

Atlanta United (9-5-8, 32 points) returns to action when they face CF Montreal on Saturday, July 8 at Stade Saputo (7:30 p.m. EDT, MLS Season Pass, FOX, 92.9 The Game, La Mejor). All Atlanta United matches are available with an MLS Season Pass subscription, located on the Apple TV app.

-Jon Jones

Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD

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